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Average posting lifespan of a Chowhound

I lurked for years from '99 on, largely because I didn't have a computer or regular access to being online.
That finally changed 4 years ago. Meatn3 was born and I dove right in!

There are a few posters I recognize from way back. It seems to be that 3-5 years is the average that a poster stays active (posting with regularity). There will always be the one-hit wonders who jump in once and move on, but I'm curious about those who were quite active and then you just don't hear from them much if at all. Nature abhors a vacuum, so there always seem to be new voices joining the party and making the absence of others less noticeable.

I've found I've cut back a bit. A certain amount is due to the cyclical nature of the posts leading to a "been there, done that" situation. I've said what I needed to on many things (cast iron for example ;-D) and don't feel inclined to revisit the topic. Also, with the economy and my wallet, I'm not eating out as often - so less to add to the party.

But I still find new things to explore, new voices to hear and new things to try. My life has been enriched on many levels from giving spirit of Chowhounds!

Is my experience typical? What is the average length of time a poster stays active? Just curious!

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  1. Well that question and it's data is going to be limited in scope since this site only became a "subscription/sign up" deal with the takeover by Sea/Net after Jim sold to them. Lots of old time posters (like me who began posting actively in 2001) came back as new "personalities/posting handles" with that advent.

    1. We have lost some real spark plugs here in the last 2 years, whos knowledge and wit combo were half the reason for my attraction to the site. In the current restrictive environment, I don't think anyone can be a mini rock star. We all sing a restrained, dull, monotone pledge of allegience to the mods, and then post a recipe or a resto suggestion. Whoopie. I'm fairly irrelevant as I approach 5 years, and fading.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Veggo

        Right now is the most restrictive I've seen chowhound yet. All the personality of a filleted fish. The expectation of "breezy" posts has become a chill wind even in the heat of august.

        1. re: givemecarbs

          It's kinda true. A friend just got suspended for what I thought was an opinionated but fairly innocuous statement about bringing condiments to your own restaurant.

          I'm thinking it has a lot to do with people reporting comments...

          1. re: inaplasticcup

            While we do need people to report things to bring them to our attention (we can't read everything), we don't simply react to user reports. Nothing's ever deleted just because it was reported, but rather, we use reports to guide us to threads that need attention, and then consider how the posts fit with our rules.

            We can't discuss specific actions related to specific users, but we can note that suspensions are even more carefully considered, and not the result of a single post on a single thread. We may send along a recent post as an example of the problem when we email about the suspension, but it's never about that one instance alone. We follow an escalation path with issues, and before we move on to suspensions, we first send multiple warnings. It's only if they choose to ignore the warnings and continue with similar behaviour that suspensions come into play.

            Even then, the first suspension on our escalation path is a short term thing -- we write and ask the person if they will agree not to post in that problematic way in the future, and as soon as they write back and agree, we reactivate their account.

          2. re: givemecarbs

            I am amazed to find my post still here.Historically far softer jabs and "less off subject" missives have gotten the boot.
            I also happen to be someone that has NEVER been sent an explaination or had an inquirery about said infraction responded to.
            As a F&B trade professional with habits from sites far less ??bland?? and I don't include rants and tirades.I find with CH it's a bit hard to figure what they are going to be ??overly?? touchy about.The rules of engagement here can be hard and or slippery sometimes for reasons that leave me clueless.

            1. re: givemecarbs

              You wouldn't believe the Toronto bored, sorry I mean board. Th efeeling I get is, what's the[point?

          3. This October will be my 5th year. I find i'm pretty active still, but it's not always as fun. I too agree that at times I feel I've said the same thing over and over again (eat at "blah-blah"!) but i definitely still find surprises here. the WFD thread inspires on a daily basis - a week probably doesn't go by that I don't find something new I want to try to cook. i am sure that new blood will bring new vibrancy, and i'm sure I'll bemoan the loss of voices past. People are at turns helpful & annoying. I am sure I have been both.

            1. I think I started posting in 2007 (?), after my man had alerted me to the existence of this site, and clearly thought I needed another procrastination vehicle '-)

              I feel like others here -- experiencing a bit of fatigue, particularly with threads on the NAF, GC & FMN boards.... lots of repetition.

              I still very much value the HC board (I have made some virtual & non-virtual CH buds there), and CH is still my go-to source for any travel prep --

              I also like to help people out who travel to my hometown, Berlin. Some of my suggestions may sound like a broken record, but I discover new places each summer & am happy to share them.

              The moderation seems to have gotten more heavy-handed over time, tho, which is another reason for my posts having become less frequent.

              3 Replies
              1. re: linguafood

                haha-our posts have become "less frequent" because they keep getting deleted!

                  1. re: mariacarmen

                    I feel so special here on CH, because this is literally the ONLY site that has ever deleted my posts. I must be so edgy, even in my middle age!

                1. I think I've been posting about five or six years, maybe, but never with a very strong presence on any particular board.

                  Lately I ve been thinking about those who have been absent recently, and hoping that they are ok. Jfood, for one, and Caroline1. I know people get busy and drop off, and life holds more important distractions, but I hope people wander away because life is hectic and good, not because there's been a tragedy.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: rabaja

                    I've e-mailed them & they are both well!

                    This is why I wish more people had a CH related e-mail - the motherhen in me gets worried when someone stops posting!

                      1. re: meatn3

                        Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this.
                        I'd hoped they were, but Sam and Moh seemed to be taken so quickly on this forum.
                        I know it's subjective and I shouldn't be such a worry-wart.

                        1. re: rabaja

                          I felt the same way. I still wonder about danhole in Houston. No answer from her email and other CH's that I contacted had no idea.

                          The downside of getting to know people in an informal manner.

                          When I used to wait tables we would sometimes have a well liked regular just disappear. Never knew if their habits changed or if something happened to them. Often you don't know the last name so the obits usually aren't helpful unless there is a photo. Even then, many of the photos are decades old.

                          Note to self: Update your photo and leave instructions to post my demise on CH...

                        2. re: meatn3

                          Oh I am so happy to hear they're OK! I've missed their posts and their liveliness!

                      2. I have heard talk of the heavy handed-ness of moderators. I'm just wondering what it is that people do to get themselves in that much hot water. Now turning an attack on another poster personal, etc. I can see becoming problematic . . . although there were a couple of people who I felt like lashing out at for one reason or another. But most of the voices I miss were not ones to get that vicious, at least it didn't seem that way to me. What does one do to get moderated? I've already admitted to serving boxed mashed potatoes and owning green can parmesan.

                        And in response to the OP's question, I've been on for about 3-4 years as well, i've contributed some, learned a lot, and also know about as much about cast iron as I will ever want to know or share. But I still find lots of new topics of interest, and different boards catch my attention at different times.

                        34 Replies
                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                          Know this is not a peeve thread, but I think killing threads that might have seems to have wandered off topic but are still interesting is my biggest peeve. Also moving threads about purely regional topics off of the regional boards to say, Food media and news, where they promptly die when divorced from their own community.

                          It seems overly nerdy and counterproductive to split regional content away from the community that spawned it, but then insensitivity to community has been a theme on CH for many years.Witness the problems with board boundary definitions which its pretty plain what people want.

                          Its good that new boards like Cooking, Gardening and Wine have brought a wider range of participation into the site.

                          However, Ive stuck around since '98 I cant be that concerned, right? but Id rather the folks who walked away and started their own local food boards like say LTH Forum were still participants here..

                          1. re: jen kalb

                            "Also moving threads about purely regional topics off of the regional boards to say, Food media and news, where they promptly die when divorced from their own community."
                            That's a pet peeve of mine as well, but it seems to me that the mods have been better about not doing this recently. Is that just my imagination or is there a new philosophy at play? Or maybe it varies from regional board to regional board?

                            1. re: cowboyardee

                              I hope so, but it happened on the Italy Board just recently when a discussion of a local Roman food personality was moved to FNM

                              1. re: jen kalb

                                I am all in favor of media talk, even when it's about the LA area, being moved to a separate board. That sort of issue brings the signal to noise issue squarely into focus. When I'm on my local (L.A.) board I'm looking for restaurant tips and new dish finds. I really don't want to be wading through the extraneous discussion that goes hand in hand with the food media reports. Also, the fact that anyone can put up a pointer post over to the Media board (back on their local board) will alert the other posters of the existence of the post and where it is.

                                1. re: Servorg

                                  I'm not talking about tangent discussions within an unrelated thread (and even in this case, I wish the mods would separate it into a new thread on the same discussion board if it's something that will only really be of interest to the locals)

                                  Is it really that hard to scroll past the occasional thread that is obviously about a media article? I'm not convinced this does any real damage to CH's venerated signal-to-noise ratio. But while we're on the subject - what about signal to noise ratio on the food media board - there's no real upside for your average reader from New York who is browsing through general interest articles on the Media board to have to sort through threads pertaining to articles about a chef or restaurant that is only known in Cleveland, Ohio; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Paris, France; Sacramento, California; and Hokkaido, Japan.

                                  Keep threads where they'll be useful to people or else delete em entirely, I say.

                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                    Well, the Media board seems extremely active from what I can see, so it's existence, even removed from the local areas that spawn some of the posts, don't seem to be having much of a chilling effect on the enjoyment of the hounds participating there. And you don't address the option of posting on the Media board and putting up a header post on the local board right back to the thread in question. That seems a neat solution to the issue. And finally, we aren't talking about issues that will directly affect anyone here the way that finding a great new restaurant in your local area does. It's all about the chow, after all...

                                    1. re: Servorg

                                      "Well, the Media board seems extremely active from what I can see, so it's existence, even removed from the local areas that spawn some of the posts, don't seem to be having much of a chilling effect on the enjoyment of the hounds participating there."
                                      You think leaving the occasional local media thread on a local board would have a 'chilling effect' on said local board? It hasn't seemed to when these threads have slipped through the cracks and stayed put. Who the act of moving these threads has a real effect upon is the poster of the thread and any parties who are actually interested. It pisses off contributing posters, and it leaves the local boards a tiny bit more impoverished each time it happens - all to no significant end.

                                      "And you don't address the option of posting on the Media board and putting up a header post on the local board right back to the thread in question."
                                      I already stated that I wasn't talking about tangents in an unrelated thread.

                                      Or are you talking about making a local thread stating that X thread has been moved? Why do that? Two threads instead of one. Even more noise, longer pathways for interested parties. It's a very inelegant solution to a problem that shouldn't exist in the first place but for some apparent OCD leanings. I guess I can see the point of doing that if the thread would be of interest both to locals specifically and to the world at large - maybe in the case of a thread about a nationally famous restaurant like Le Bernardin. But not for articles that we all know are just going to die on the Media board.

                                      "And finally, we aren't talking about issues that will directly affect anyone here the way that finding a great new restaurant in your local area does. It's all about the chow, after all..."
                                      Like it or not, CH has expanded its focus. That tends to come with thousands of additional readers, ad revenue, etc. And while it's all well and good to promote the chow, I wish people would stop pretending this is just a site for restaurant reviews. It's not.

                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                        I am definitely not pretending that CH hasn't expanded its focus. The other boards that have been put into place are proof of that. I'm simply saying that the formula of separating local boards from the information contained and talked about in Media reports is a good idea. And the idea that chatting about any of them will affect anyone's immediate existence that way finding a great new place to eat does is a bit of a stretch.

                                        I'll leave you with this recent post by the CH moderation team and say that I agree with it 100%: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7987...

                              2. re: cowboyardee

                                We do understand that some people would prefer that we leave all local discussions on the local boards, instead of making the division we do between things which are directly about local chow. Our goal, though, is to keep the local boards as focused as possible on what Chowhound does best -- finding great places to eat within a given region.

                                Discussion of things like food reviewers, controversies, etc, are interesting, but they're tangential to the core mission of the site. We don't want to remove them entirely, since some members do want to discuss them. But we also want to keep them from overwhelming the resource that is the local boards -- and experience has shown us that those kinds of topics can get very overwhelming to a local board. They tend to multiply over time, and since those threads often become long-running arguments amongst just a few hounds, they can dominate the front page of the board index for a long time.

                                We haven't really changed our policy on this recently, though we have been trying to leave some threads which might go either way on the local board until we see which way the conversation's going to turn. For example, sometimes someone will post a local paper's top 10 list, and the conversation will be about the restaurants on the list or which restaurants are better than they are, and that's useful, local chow information. Other times, the conversation will end up being about the paper or reviewer, about the uselessness of top 10 lists, about whether it's all just bought and paid for with advertising, etc. That can be an interesting conversation, but it's tangential to our core mission so we move it to Food Media and News.

                                1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                  It's not like I'm gonna leave the site over this issue, but you have my vote. It's a counterproductive, useless, and frustrating policy.... IMO. I suspect I'm far from alone in my opinion, but that's for you guys to evaluate.

                                  "For example, sometimes someone will post a local paper's top 10 list, and the conversation will be about the restaurants on the list or which restaurants are better than they are, and that's useful, local chow information. Other times, the conversation will end up being about the paper or reviewer, about the uselessness of top 10 lists, about whether it's all just bought and paid for with advertising, etc.... so we move it to Food Media and News."
                                  Or you could just separate a discussion about the general usefulness of top 10 lists to its own thread on another board and leave the thread and discussion about an area's specific top 10 list on the local board where maybe the locals will get something out of it. That would be my preference.

                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                    I think what you discount way to much is the "downhill snowball effect" that eventually obliterates everything in its way as it becomes an avalanche. The CH moderation team is undoubtedly in a constant balancing dance. Trying on one hand to let certain things go when it adds to the local boards breadth and depth of knowledge. At other times having to move topics that threaten to derail the mission of the local boards lest others begin to follow suit (and to have posters throw the old "you let him do it mom!" defense in their face when things get relocated). It's not just one poster doing what you want to CB, it not even 10 posters doing it (maybe) that causes the camels back to break. But when it turns into 30 or 40 or 50 you've won the battle but lost the war of keeping our local boards on topic and mission critical.

                                    1. re: Servorg

                                      Respectfully, I don't think I discount it; I think you and the CH team overstate it. The Food Media board, as of the writing of this post, has 16 threads that have been updated today. And it's fairly late in the afternoon. That's under 20 threads of media discussion for the entire world. Doesn't seem like spreading a little bit of that out to local boards would 'overwhelm' any of them.

                                      Now, you might be thinking: 'But none of those media threads are about local media - there might be more of em if CH kept said threads in the local board.' Bingo. There would be a few more of em. That's because CH's existing policy is actually a de facto ban on discussing local food media. People aren't going to post on local media only to watch the threads die like fish out of water on some other board.

                                      I submit that even if there were a few more of these threads, they wouldn't be nearly as overwhelming as you claim. Just end the de facto ban on local media discussion. It isn't helping.

                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                        Much, much harder to put the Genie back in the bottle once it's out...

                                        1. re: Servorg

                                          True, but the genie isn't really so big and bad. He's bespectacled and mild-mannered and enjoys Ethiopian dark roast coffee.

                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                            Oh, he starts out amiably enough. But after that second pot of Ethiopian dark roast he becomes extremely agitated and querulous...and before you know it you have the "local thread guest from hell" on your hands... ;-D>

                                            1. re: Servorg

                                              fine, but take my example, a discussion of a Roman food writer by a bunch of romans who dont follow any of the other boards, let alone a US-centered food media board that itself is a sprawling mess. The posts relocate and then die becausse no one else with relevant interest ever sees it, and a discussion between food savvy folks that might be illuminating for other less-knowledgeable chowhounds is stamped out. I saw another thread on NMH that I assume started on NY that was a spinoff from a discussion of NJ top ten in a NJ publication. IMO that belonged on the NJ board where it presumably started.

                                              the days are long over when chowhounds can easily see all the flow on all the boards easily (remember those days?) I dont even read the NY Board anymore living in Brooklyn. Allowing some slack for local boards to discuss local media (I dont mean the NY times, except maybe re local restaurant reviews) would not significantly dilute content but it would reduce irritation and promote more of a sense of community on the local boards which IMO is key to buiding volume and improving content - community does not necessarily mean a lot of cutesy exchanges but it does mean the deepening of discussions. ACooking is not so heavily moderated and its all the better for it.

                                              1. re: jen kalb

                                                What chowhounds have in common (which is what best motivates a sense of community) is hunger and the quest for deliciousness, not geography. Chowhound is one big community, not lots of little ones. Some of the chowy topical boards, like Home Cooking, exemplify the good things that happen when we remove geographical borders. In fact, the friendly collaborative community in Home Cooking wouldn't be so vibrant if hounds only shared recipes in the regional board that they post on. (BTW, we moderate Home cooking with the same guidelines as every other board, credit goes to the hounds who post there, not us.)

                                                It's also worth remembering that Chowhound was founded as a place for independently minded, iconoclastic food seekers to share in-depth real-time chow tips that the food media couldn't provide. We're not seeking to be yet another place for repeating and promoting the same information from existing media sources. There are lots of food discussion boards that span all food topics, but chowhound's narrow focus on sharing chow tips is unique.

                                                Several posters mention that discussion of local food media would flourish if kept on the regional boards. We agree with this, in which case, we risk reducing signal to noise if there are more media rather chow discussions on the boards. It takes less time/effort to read a piece in the media and opine, than it takes to comb the neighborhood for deliciousness and then report back. But what is significantly more valuable is the chow tip from the latter effort.

                                                On a practical side, there are some existing solutions/compromises to the issues raised here. The "My Activity" page in your profile to aggregate the threads one posts in, making it a convenient place to look at your threads across multiple boards. And if you wish to direct fellow hounds to a thread somewhere else, it's perfectly fine to post a link on a regional board.

                                              2. re: Servorg

                                                That's because it's best roasted med/light, if it's yirgacheffe or sidamo. :-)

                                          2. re: cowboyardee

                                            >>> I submit that even if there were a few more of these threads, they wouldn't be nearly as overwhelming as you claim.

                                            i submit you are wrong ... for three reasons

                                            1. Many years ago, i tried to put togeter a restaurant cheat sheet for vistors to the SF Bay area. Going through topic after topic searching for significant restaurnt info and having to read all these side discussions was a bitch. As a vistor to other regions, I want to tear out my hair when I want to find a restaurant in the area and I have to wade through discussions that the locals may find fascinating.

                                            I wanted information about where to eat, not chit-chat, flames, jokes, discussions. Ever since then I consider this sort of stuff a PITA worldwide.

                                            2. Info is lost

                                            There were some really cool discussions about Chinese food in general on the SF board when I started about 2002. I can never find them. However, the disucssions about food or local critics etc moved to the appropriate boards such as General or Media ... I can always locate them now ... and ... it picks up people who might not be normally reading specific boards

                                            It ain't that hard to link to the correct board. If people don't want to follow the link, I submit the discussions isn't that great to begin with.

                                            When I do the link to the general board or wherever I usually find it is the people who really have soething to say that add to the dicussion and it is win-win ... the local boards are easier to use to find local food . the other boards get the people who really are interested in the subject to chime in.

                                            3. Its not ahout community. It's about food ... where to find it.

                                            Ok, in the early years I had the same argument ... often ... that Chowhound was more than just about food. But, ya know ... it is specifically WHAT its good to eat and WHERE to find it that this site is about. There is the bonus of community ... but it is a side dish and not the entree.

                                            1. re: rworange

                                              1. You're talking about wading through tangent discussions in threads about restaurants. That's frustrating because there's no easy way for a casual reader to separate restaurant information from chit chat (I might suggest that's the price you pay for getting your information from other people who aren't paid to give it to you and organize it for you, but that's neither here nor there).

                                              I'm talking about allowing the occasional thread that is obviously not about restaurant recommendations to exist. A whole thread. Marked off by just a few little words (the title). It's much easier to block out. Scroll past it. Done in the blink of an eye.

                                              2. Info is not lost under the current policy - info is not generated in the first place. As I said in the post above, this policy is really a de facto ban on discussing local food media.

                                              "It ain't that hard to link to the correct board. If people don't want to follow the link, I submit the discussions isn't that great to begin with."
                                              That's just straight up wrong. I've said something like 4 times now that I'm not talking about tangents that started in an unrelated thread - I'm talking about entire threads started about local food media. Linking in a local board to an independent thread in Food Media is a terrible solution. It's even more clutter. The link doesn't update with the thread. The link gets buried regardless of whether the thread is alive.

                                              3. We disagree. I feel a look around these boards bears my point. It seems to me that a solid half of the activity on CH occurs away from the regional boards - over in Homecooking, Cookware, General Topics, etc. Doesn't really matter what any individual says or even what the mods say - CH is what it is, not necessarily what its mission statement says it should be.

                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                #1 & #2 I mostly agree
                                                #3 I think you are spot on.I did a data volume search yesterday and the numbers aren't what they were 2+ years ago and am inclined to think you have a very valid point as to why.

                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                  You and the others who are in favor of the "more relaxed moderation standards" being applied are really looking to turn CH into a junior facebook...with all the extraneous chit chat and talk about friends, family, animals, vacations, health, wealth, hobbies and any and all other odd thoughts that pop into ones head.

                                                  If I wanted stream of consciousness I'd read James Joyce. Keep the sites "local boards" focused on finding great food. I really don't care what happens on NAF or even Site, as they don't impact my life one iota. But the present "tight" moderation of off topic chatter is the only way to keep the great majority of folks who came here and stayed to keep staying, because they were, are, and will continue to be interested in the food. If that changes they will drift away. And that's as it should be.

                                                  None of us is here due to "court ordered diversion sentencing" (at least as far as I know). If we don't find the site meets our needs we look for one that does. Darwinian selection at it's finest. I think there is enough chat and chatter to be had on the Media and NAF food boards to satisfy the FB junkies. The local boards need to remain "Social Networking" free to the greatest extent possible.

                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                    mmmmm... steamed consciousness. i like mine fried, tho.

                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                      Nonsense. That's the problem with 'slippery slope' arguments - you've completely misrepresented my point and my stance. Facebook is a social network. I've made no arguments at all for making CH any less about food; just for acknowledging that restaurant reviews are no longer the sole focus of the site.

                                                      I'm asking to lift the de facto ban on discussing local food media. I've argued that's not off topic for this site at all. No real similarities to Facebook that I see.

                                                      And on the general topic of moderation, I've made my view clear elsewhere (though not yet on this thread, incidentally) that I wish the mods would let on-topic arguments continue, rather than assuming that everyone is such a delicate flower that they can't handle a little disagreement. Especially on threads and boards (NAF) where it seems a debate was the intent all along - no other discussion is being trampled out, in other words. But here, I'm really just debating the degree to which arguments should be moderated, not whether they should be at all. If all parties are game and on-topic and not being nasty, then let people sort things out for themselves.

                                                      I've made no arguments for allowing any more off-topic threads or posts on this site than already exist. Thankfully, the mods seem to understand that you can't hold every sentence someone writes to the 'is it on-topic?' standard.... that when you rely on unpaid contributors for your site's wealth of information, they must have enough leeway that they enjoy coming to the site. Little exchanges like yours and mine above (the genie) added nothing to the information of this site; but it is a natural outgrowth of two people discussing things and it didn't get us too far off track. I'll defend that when someone complains about it as Rworange did above.

                                                      But longer tangents about non-chow stuff, whole threads that are off topic - I'm in favor of moderation in those cases. In other words, I'm fine with things the way they are in terms of politely deleting material that doesn't relate to food.

                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                        I hesitate to engage you simply because strong opinions to the contrary inexplicably get deleted but if I may... have you ever read your post history on Site Talk? A lot of us have and forgive me but you have a long history of repeating yourself... perhaps instead of the repetitive spouting of CH "org" speak you can perhaps attempt another more believable tact. Just a humble suggestion...

                                                        1. re: Duppie

                                                          After having been around since 2001 I've seen it griped about when Jim and Bob ran it and when Sea/Net took over and now with CBS at the helm. Talk about repeating. This type of complaint is the reason "Ground Hog Day" got made.

                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                            That being the case... I implore you as a charter member, which you delight in reminding us, lead by example and change your tune... It has become noticeably off key and tiresome after all these years.

                                                            1. re: Duppie

                                                              Change my tune? To something you like? Nah...can't stand that music. Much, much too grating to the ears...

                                                        2. re: cowboyardee

                                                          Have you even tried linking these topics to the correct board?

                                                          I ask that because I felt just as strongly as you, until I tried it and got better results. I started the links just to prove the mods wrong and the result was I proved I was wrong.

                                                          >>> I wish the mods would let on-topic arguments continue, rather than assuming that everyone is such a delicate flower that they can't handle a little disagreement

                                                          The problem in all these topics is that people admit they enjoy 'arguing'.rather than merely disagreeing about food. This is a good example of a disagreement about a restaurant's clam chowder rather than a argument trying to light a flame.


                                                          What cracks me up about moderation complaints is that the boards are significantly less moderated currently. Maybe ... maybe if the numbers aren't the same ... that is the problem ... a loss of focus and move to chat ... and that wears thin after a while ... which results in board fatigue.

                                                          I can't say for sure, but it seems people stick around longer than before. Now it seems 3-5 years for people who are going to hang out for a while. When I started in 2002 it seemed about 1-2 years.

                                                          There was a definate pattern back then. Person fell crazy in love with Chowhound. After the honeymoon period, they get a little too comfortable and start straying from the food discussions, get deleted, get pissed and either got bounced or left in a huff.

                                                          You know, in the old days, I'd be so banned forever by now. I came really close way back then.

                                                          I've had a stressful two years recently. At times I took it out on the board. Got restricted from boards, suspended, etc. So, no ... it is not a one innocent thing if you are banned.

                                                          However in all of that the mods and especially Jacquelynne, handled it graciously despite my PITA-ness. I've appreciated that and tried to be a better community member.

                                                          In the old days, some of the warnings and stuff just pissed me off more.rather than making me want to be more cooperative. I now realize a little of what was going on, but ... sheesh. You don't read anyone calling the mods Nazi's anymore like in the old days.

                                                          My own perception these days is the site was started by a guy who had a talent for finding good food and opened up a place where otheres can say 'hey, you gotta try this'.

                                                          That's all it is ... and it works best that way, IMO.

                                                          1. re: rworange

                                                            "The problem in all these topics is that people admit they enjoy 'arguing'.rather than merely disagreeing about food."
                                                            Lots of people enjoy arguing. What difference does one's deep-down motivation really make? The real barometer should be whether any interesting or useful information is coming out of these arguments. More often than not, they generate a great deal of fascinating on-topic information for the CH boards, intertwined right in with the squabbling.

                                                            Just to be clear, I'm not really arguing from a standpoint of feeling personally hindered by the rules - I don't get moderated any more than my share, and certainly not enough to feel personally persecuted or anything. Likewise, I have only been around for a few years and can't really say what the level of moderation has been in the past.

                                                            I have nothing against the moderators; I'll brake for em in traffic and all, and if one of them got lost in Southwest PA and showed up at my door wearing their moderator hat, I'd treat em cordially and cook em a nice meal.

                                                            But the only way to request a change in policy is to state your objections.

                                          3. re: cowboyardee

                                            No, I got hit with that just recently - I had posted about a survey that showed Boston was the lowest in the country (#100 of out 100 cities surveyed) in spending on national fast food chains. It gathered quite a few comments on the Boston board about why that might be and what it really meant, then it got moved to the Media board and the discussion died off pretty quickly. I considered protesting to the mods but decided it wasn't really worth the effort.

                                            1. re: BobB

                                              It sounds like the mods did a good job moving that thread. I look to the Boston board to find delicious things to eat. Not wade through discussions that won't get me close to that mission. That stuff belongs on the FMN board.

                                              1. re: E Eto

                                                So it seems that if I want to know where in Boston to buy ingredients for home cooking, that's fine. We don't move these threads to the home cooking board.

                                                Or if you want to find a knife sharpener in Boston, that's not moved to the cookware board.

                                                Top 10 lists are fine as long as they don't use a media article as a jumping off point

                                                And (extra pertinent to the topic in question) so are general discussions about the Boston food scene that have no specific recommendations.
                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/755316 (this thread is fun because it's not even about the Boston food scene, but rather Boston hounds... 169 replies


                                                Those examples were not hard to find. At all. There are many more of them. But for some reason, discussing any media about local food is going too far?

                                                And frankly, I reject the notion that having these threads around ruins it for people who want to read about local restaurants. Just look past threads you aren't interested in. This is a huge, heavy-traffic internet site about all things food - how'd it get so fragile and precious?

                                                1. re: E Eto

                                                  I also look to the Boston board in search of local deliciousness. But I have no problem with other Boston-related food topics showing up there, where people in Boston will find them. There's no rule saying you HAVE to open and read every thread - if a topic doesn't interest you, move on to the next. No wading required. The title I gave that thread made it perfectly clear what it was about.

                                                  By moving that Boston-oriented food topic to the Media board, the mods effectively killed the discussion, on a site that's supposed to be all about food-related discussion.

                                        2. I have been on this since practically the beginning (97? - I read about CH in the New York Times - just checked and 97 seems to be the first mention).
                                          I always find something of interest each time I look at it, and my dining and cooking lives have been immeasurably enriched by it.
                                          I've met some great people through it, virtually and in person (over some swell meals, for the most part), and made some very good friends.
                                          Many many thanks, fellow CHers, for sharing your expertise and knowledge.
                                          Count me among the hopelessly smitten. Addicted.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: buttertart

                                            I've been on here at least since 2000. Every once in a while an ancient thread I contributed to will arise from the dead.

                                            I still have my old Jim Leff Chowhound t-shirts too!

                                            PS you know you've been on here a long time if you can remember the glory days of egullet.

                                            PPS I'm definitely posting less these days. I'm trying to limit my posts to really new things, as opposed to recommending places I've already recommended several times.

                                            1. re: Bob W

                                              BRAVO,I also still have a t-shirt from the olden days

                                              1. re: lcool

                                                I actually have two! I was feeling generous and Mrs. W ended up not wearing hers so it was added to my extensive t-shirt collection and is holding up very well. Still gets compliments too.

                                          2. Mostly lurker from 2003 to 2006. Off completely due to work/divorce/other life crap until the beginning of this year. Been fairly active since on Home Cooking, Media, Not About Food and occasionally on LA and Equipment.

                                            1. I've been posting for four or five years, I think. I have definitely slowed down in the last couple of years. Part of it is the economy, and part of it is settling into a rut. I've found some places that I really, REALLY like and have fallen out of trying new ones. I barely get to visit my favorites.

                                              Although recently life has forced me into eating out a few times a month in a new town, so I may pick back up again.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Naco

                                                Naco, that's interesting -- I don't go to any one restaurant more than a few times a year. I envy people who can become regulars at their favorites but I seem to get tired of places easily, no matter how much I like them, so I mix it up

                                                BTW, I really enjoy your barbecue posts since I don't get down to NC much these days.

                                                1. re: Bob W

                                                  I'm a little more like that with places that are local to me, although there's a general dearth of stuff here in my town that I feel is CH-worthy.

                                                  It's more the destination restaurants. I started posting on here because I wanted to document the taquerias in the country and in small towns and cities around eastern NC. I only knew a few non-Latinos that ate at them, and there was nothing about them online. I didn't know anything about most of them. Now I do, and it's started to sap my desire to try new ones. It's hard to pass up the awesome homemade mole at that one place when I only get to eat out of town once every couple of months. Before, I was able to travel more, eat out more, and had less strong preferences.

                                              2. I started back in 2001 when I got my first computer, and would check in here even before my personal emails. Loved it and spent way too much time here, but couldn't help myself as I learned so much. Not just food, but how to communicate in an effective way with unusually intelligent people. Then back in February, my husband had a major stroke and all of a sudden I didn't have the heart, time nor fortitude to even check in, much less write anything.

                                                When he started getting better, I was allowed to take him out for little excursions, and suddenly I was back, asking for suggestions in the area of where he was staying. I mentioned that he had been ill, for handicap access reasons, and got some nice personal emails which perked me up. Once he got home, we started eating out more than we ever did (his taste buds or something changed and he doesn't go crazy for many of his old homecooked favorites, sob) and once I started checking in again on an almost daily basis, I know I was the road to recovery myself.

                                                So just a little break; I don't have to time to sit here all day anymore since hubby is now retired and needs a bit of attention, but still one of my top 10 sites. It's changed over the years but what doesn't really?

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: coll

                                                  Coll, so glad he's home, altered tastebuds and all! It's always good to see you posting, too!

                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                    Thanks so much, I'm glad to be back; as I said, it means everything's normal finally. A new normal, but still a relief. It really was a milestone to start posting here again!

                                                    We went to the local Mardi Gras celebration yesterday (I know, weird time of the year but the weather was just like New Orleans in March). We stayed all day, far longer than we used to, when it was the Blues Festival; and enjoyed the food and drink to the max. He had a pulled pork sandwich and half of my Jumbalaya too.

                                                    1. re: coll

                                                      YUM, and it sounds as if recovery is progressing well!

                                                  2. re: coll

                                                    Coll, yes, very glad to hear your hubby's doing better. and your point is well taken - one of the best things i found here was seemingly non-food related, but actually it really was. my mom was terminally ill and i was doing a lot of cooking for her altered tastes and also to accommodate an aging father, and not only did i get good tips, i got a lot of moral support, during the time she was ill and after she died. not to mention that it was often a creative outlet at a time when i had no other.

                                                    keep on with your own recovery, as well as his, take care of yourself and enjoy good food!

                                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                                      You are so right! I love the friends I've made here, both on line and off line. Now that we don't socialize as much, it makes all the difference.

                                                      I've discovered my husband still loves pesto, he ate two helpings of pasta last night, which pleased me greatly.

                                                      1. re: coll

                                                        it is always HUGELY satisfying to watch your sick loved ones take sustenance!

                                                  3. Haven't really posted in a long while
                                                    Replying to the same pork loin questions
                                                    Made me crazy wild
                                                    As did the 'tsk tsk's to be nice
                                                    When offering opinion or advice
                                                    To Olive Garden diners . . .

                                                    Still an active reader though

                                                    1. I've been on the board since 1999 or so, although I far preferred it in the early days, not for the navigation, which was rubbish, but for the fact that I lived in a more diverse food city, making discussions of finds a commonplace (although as a poor person, I was not able to offer as much as others).

                                                      I have since moved to a considerably less chow-worthy place, although I do try to offer suggestions and make the most of what people post. But it has lead to an unfortunate habit of frequenting the not-so-much-about-food boards, and that leads to some serious procrastination tactics as I get involved in discussions. Once upon a time, they were interesting, but not so much. Tendencies and discussions that make me less likely to want to stick around (and more self-loathing when I do participate) are:

                                                      * Tipping threads

                                                      * 'Etiquette' threads in which 'etiquette' is a bomb lobbed at people who have annoyed the poster or a misguided political issue, rather than the rules that are intended to EASE social interactions.

                                                      * Authenticity threads. Oy. Best not to get started.

                                                      * America bashing as a means of self-aggrandisement. Now here I must explain a little. I have lived in parts of the U.S. for long periods of time. I have also lived elsewhere as I am 'halfie' so it's not some ridiculous patriotism that fuels this claim, but exhaustion at the broad generalisations and dismissals made about the food and behaviour of a very large nation. This leads to the annoying:

                                                      -'Americanisation' is synonym for bad. While it might well be in some cases, clearly some of you have never eaten Scottish Chinese food or food from one of those Asian traiteurs in Paris.

                                                      - Chain restaurant as synonym for American cuisine. Seriously? I can see how some chains are associated with the cuisine and I can see how the cuisine is marketed far and wide through this hideous packaging, but let's remember that the form in this case is not all about the content.

                                                      - nastiness lobbed at American ex-pats or those who lived in American for a long time who are looking for for certain dishes abroad. Why do hounds allow for the search of the perfect XLB outwith Taiwan but resent the person who has a yen for Buffalo wings?

                                                      - Just a general ignorance about the size of the U.S. and the potential for difference among the states. It's not radically diverse, but culture shock exists as do tensions between regions. (I've just come from some interestingly heated comments elsewhere in which people from the midwest railed at the snobbery of the coasts.)

                                                      * Allergy/Intolerance threads.

                                                      * Best restaurants: Is it just me or has the discussion of high-end restaurants increased? It may be just me, of course, since frequenting the European sites, I may be around more tourists who are less interested in the small day-to-day and more interested in finding out if they can score that reservation at Chez L'ami Jean.

                                                      * Growing snobbism: Disappointed by a friend's dinner? They're not a restaurant. How to deal with the fact the in-laws eat junk while you only eat the freshest most locally sourced snowflakes prepared by gumdrop unicorns? How to live through a dinner at a mediocre restaurant? If it were about how to find the best tasting options in a limited arena, I would sympathise, but this seems like self-aggrandising food grumbles of those who are actually lucky enough to be surrounded by people who want to feed them.

                                                      * Snobbism part 2: The 'I hate X and will actually question those who like X' thread. Seriously? It's one thing to ask about the appeal of an item, it's another to do so with a veiled judgement regarding the likes of others. (This isn't to say I don't judge, because I do, but I am aware of the limited appeal of public disdain. It needs to be done well, or not at all. And even then, what constitutes 'well' is clearly in the eyes of the beholder since I cannot count how many times I've not felt compelled to 'LOL' at someone's contemptuous description of the clearly ignorant delight of others.)

                                                      This is not to say there aren't still the useful food-related threads, that help give me ideas for things to make or look for on a trip here or there. And the passion of many here is appreciated, but man, either I've hit my tipping point or things have changed courtesy of a growing interest in food and 'foodieism' in the more recent years.

                                                      Or maybe it's just me and I can tell I'm overripe now.

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: Lizard

                                                        "...a general ignorance about the size of the U.S. and the potential for difference among the states."

                                                        So true. I'm an American who has lived in Europe and still travels extensively both in the US and elsewhere (mostly Europe, some Asia and Latin America), and I find myself often explaining to people in other countries that the US is far from culturally homogeneous. I think of it as about nine different countries that share a common currency.

                                                        1. re: Lizard

                                                          You hit the proverbial nail on the head with this, Lizard. Those are the most contentious and 99% of the time the most pointless lines of discussion, and they inevitably degenerate into as close to namecalling as they can get here.

                                                          1. re: Lizard

                                                            Everything you said pretty much sums up how I've felt over the last year or so. As I guessed -- it's a bit of a cycle, probably. Newbs show up and start threads that have been discussed ad nauseam years ago. Of course, it's all brand new to them, so I let them be and just ignore it.... on my 'better' days '-)

                                                            1. re: Lizard

                                                              That is a wonderful post, Lizard, and I wholeheartedly agree with 99.9% of what you're saying. I'm not sure what that .1% might be, but I'm hedging my bets, lol!

                                                            2. I guess since I got sucked into this thread, I might as well respond to the OP.

                                                              I've been around since the beginning of CH, and started posting regularly around 1999 (like when there were 2 or 3 posts a month on the Boston board). I don't post as much I once did, most likely because, like someone else stated, I'm tired of repeating myself. Also, I feel like I've found my favorite places after a good decade of exploring, so I'd rather read what others have to report after doing the legwork. Unfortunately there seems to be only a handful of real intrepid hounds who post on the outer boroughs board. But after moving to a new city, I'm enjoying being back in exploration mode.

                                                              I guess I don't participate in a lot of "community" threads because I don't find anything wrong with the amount of moderation on the site. In fact, I wish there were greater moderation to filter out a lot of stupid information that finds its way on to the boards. I tend to ignore those posts or posters (which occupy a significant percentage of threads) and try to find the information that CH is meant for: to find delicious things to eat. My pet peeve is returning to a long thread only to find chit-chat or a smiley face response. Since I took the time to open those threads looking for actual information, it takes even less time to report them.

                                                              1. Honestly, I seem to have a short attention span for boards--1-2 years. Allure magazine, 6 months, but I was getting married and the people annoyed me with their cliquishness. Chow was great when I moved to Princeton, but 15 months later we bought a house and started a baby, and there was little I could get regarding what I could/couldn't eat while pregnant on Chow. When I would post about beer and wine shipping issues and potential changes in NJ, my posts were deleted as not-relevant. So I moved to Babycenter, which is a fun train wreck. I lasted almost exactly one year--until my daughter was 3 months old and tasting real Scottish haggis for the first time. Care2 likely lasted the longest amount of time--3 years? At a certain point, I was sick of product pushers & rabid vegans.

                                                                A lot of my favourites have been banned since I left Chow in 2009. I'm not sure if this is again the right place for me, though I'm happy to announce that my 17 month old eats everything we eat (we are following Sam's direction and example)

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: Caralien

                                                                  Congrats on the baby.

                                                                  The trouble with starring people as favorites is that it takes the focus off of content and like you say of another forum it creates cliques.

                                                                  There are posters i sorely miss and there are those i'm happy enough are gone. However, I've learned over the years it is not about any few people, but the collective data. There is always somone wonderful to step in and fill the spots of the missing.

                                                                  One problem here is that Chow bends over backwards to keep posters like you who admit that any forum is going to bore them after a short time at the expense of people who might want to stick around longer than that.

                                                                  And frankly, focusing on the chatty boards does get boring. There are only so many times you can read posts about the etiqutte of children, tipping or the favorite food that everyone hates. I'm bored with those.

                                                                  I do like that if, even as a bad cook, I can get whatever help I need hear instantly. I do not believe this is a forum of primitive cookds as Chow advertises.

                                                                  I like that I can find any food or restaurant I want by asking. the data will be up to date from reliable people.

                                                                  1. re: rworange

                                                                    Obviously, Chow was alienating posters "like me", not bending over backwards. As I stated, it was a reason I took a break. I wanted to stay on, but my interests were towards my health & that of Charlotte. No one would post a pregnancy-safe pate. I had to find out from other sources and research that honestly, most cheese sold in the US, including Mexican cheeses, were perfectly fine; major exceptions, anything that stated "raw", Roquefort, Maytag Blue. Chowhound did not have that information in 2009.

                                                                    Obviously it is tedious to read the same crap regularly--that was tiring within 3 months. If you (or I) have a screaming brat, a drunk client, etc., let the newbies or others chime in.

                                                                    Chowhound did not find me a maple custard filled doughnut--I was directed primarily to Dunkin Donuts. I still haven't had one since leaving SF in 2006. It's sad.

                                                                    We are still searching for barbecue and taco trucks, though I'm not sure what else is in Reading, PA to justify a return.

                                                                    The restaurant search on CH was painful to use when I left, so I gave up.

                                                                    We each use sites for different reasons--advice is nice, when you can get it. The site has to function. When you aren't getting what you're looking for and relevant (to you) posts are deleted while your favourites are disappearing, it's no longer fun or useful. I did not want to get tired of the board, but it had ceased to be useful.

                                                                    I am happy that posting from an iPhone is not difficult. Toddlers and keyboards don't mix.

                                                                  2. re: Caralien

                                                                    Congratulations on the baby, Caralien! And I assume that your last comment refers to Sam Fujisaka. Since you've been away, you may not realize - we lost Sam almost two years ago, to cancer. So very sad.


                                                                    1. re: BobB

                                                                      Sam passed away? That is so sad. He was crazy, but peaceful, knowledgable, and hilarious.

                                                                  3. I've been posting since 1998 (or before? the first chance I got after hearing about it). I still find something interesting every time I come here. Not on as much lately because I changed jobs and internet access isn't as liberal in the new stand. Damn.